OAKLAND, Calif., July 7, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Utility costs are 25% of monthly housing expenses according to the U.S. Census Bureau, but homebuyers rarely take this into account when calculating the costs of owning a new home. UtilityScore, which launched today in major metropolitan areas in California, provides house hunters with a simple way to identify the estimated monthly and annual utility costs of a specific single-family property. To learn about the utility costs of a home before buying, go to www.MyUtilityScore.com.
"A property's list price is only a part of the costs associated with homeownership," said Brian Gitt, president and CEO of BKi, the consulting and software company that developed UtilityScore. "Utility bills can significantly impact your budget, but until now it's been impossible to easily predict how much a specific home's electric, natural gas, and water and sewer bills will be. With UtilityScore, house hunters can receive instant customized cost predictions based on local utility rates, personal usage habits, and home characteristics."
After going to MyUtilityScore.com and entering an address, house hunters are able to immediately see the home's UtilityScore. Each UtilityScore is based on a 1-100 scale, with 100 representing very low utility bills and 1 representing very high utility bills. Scoring and utility cost estimates are calculated using local utility rates (not personal bill information), the home's size and age, and the regional climate. Users can refine the score by indicating the number of occupants, preferred seasonal thermostat settings, and if the home will be occupied during the work week. Homebuyers can also see how a selected home measures up to others in the same metropolitan area.
Software and website developers interested in integrating UtilityScore to enhance their websites, mobile sites, and mobile applications can use the UtilityScore API to:
- Display estimated utility costs (electric, natural gas, water/sewer) and scores on real estate listings
- Enable search by estimated utility costs and scores on your site
- Show a map that compares utility costs and scores of homes within a metro area
"Today's house hunters don't want any surprises when it comes to the cost of a new home and they are becoming savvier about the need to assess the lifetime cost of a property, as opposed to just the list price," said Patti Frey, a realtor with Vanguard Properties in San Francisco. "UtilityScore helps me help my clients see beyond a property's list price and consider projected utility costs before they buy."
UtilityScore offers software tools and data that can be adapted to serve a broad range of clients in the real estate and building industries, including real estate listing providers, like Zillow Trulia, Redfin and Realtor.com, realtors, property managers, lenders, building and landscape professionals, manufacturers, retailers, utilities, and government agencies. For more information on UtilityScore's customized software tools for professionals, contact info@MyUtilityScore.com. To request access to the UtilityScore API, go to http://myutilityscore.com/site - professional.
UtilityScore was developed by BKi (www.bki.com), a California-based consulting and software company with a 30-year track record of creating innovative market-driven consulting and software solutions for energy, water, and transportation. BKi's clientele includes Santa Clara Valley Water District, East Bay MUD, PG&E, Southern California Edison, and the California Energy Commission. In May, BKi introduced WaterGenius, a free online tool for California homeowners that identifies the smartest ways to save water in homes during the drought.